US Secretary of State describes violence in Tigray as ‘ethnic cleansing’

Eritrea Ethiopia Tigray

(Source: TRTWorld, Democracy Now, DW and Arte Documentary) –

The US Secretary of State has described violence in Tigray in Ethiopia as ‘ethnic cleansing’. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched an operation against the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front in November. Troops from neighbouring Eritrea are also involved in the conflict. Antony Blinken says he wants an independent investigation into the reported human rights abuses. Stephen Cornish, General director for Doctors without Borders weighs in.

The United Nations has reached a deal with Ethiopia’s government to allow humanitarian access to the northern Tigray region and start providing aid. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched military action against regional forces one month ago, setting off a bloody conflict and adding to the already alarming number of displaced people and refugees in the country and neighboring nations. Ethiopia has declared victory after announcing it took control of the capital of Tigray, but the Tigray People’s Liberation Front says they are continuing to fight. CNN senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir says what is happening Ethiopia is “a conflict over power that has descended into potentially a form of ethnic cleansing,” with Tigray people being “targeted based on the ethnic distinction on their ID cards.”

It’s been just over four months since the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region began, yet details of events on the ground have been limited. That’s because the government restricted access to the area for humanitarian workers and the media. Still, there have been reports of abuses by government-backed forces against civilians. Among these are accounts of rape, involving soldiers – causing great physical and mental damage to their victims.

Tigrayans have been caught up in war and have had to flee Ethiopia. Across the border in Sudan they are welcomed in camps. Yarid, a maths teacher, and his wife Saba try to make the best of things in their new home.

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